Leslie Frazier insists that a decision on Adrian Peterson's availability for Sunday's game won't be made until either Friday night or Saturday morning. Peterson himself says he is ready to go. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave says there is "not too much doubt" that Peterson is ready.
Could the situation get analyzed even more? Sure. What do Peterson's teammates, the defensive ones who have been charged with hitting him in practice the last two weeks, think about Peterson's progress?
"That's a guy that busted his rear end the whole offseason to overcome the injury. I just can't wait to see him Sunday and watch him continue to do what he does best and that's run that ball," said safety Jamarca Sanford, one of Peterson's best friends on the team who is convinced Peterson will play.
"No doubt in my mind. Adrian, he's going to be ready. That's just Adrian, though."
But if Adrian being Adrian equals a work ethic displayed by few superstar players, there is another trait for which he is recognized: lower the shoulder and never backing away from contact with defenders.
Since Peterson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last December, he has only experienced contact in practice, and that's only been going for a couple weeks. That doesn't seem to matter, however, as Peterson has earned a healthy respect from his teammates on defense.
"Those few days we had him out there in contact drills, he was trying to bring it to us," cornerback Chris Cook said. "We were informed to give him a little thud, but he was trying to take it to us, too. It just makes it fun in practice knowing that he's going to come out and try to give it to you."
Sanford said trying to put a hit on Peterson when he has reached the secondary – and therefore nearly full speed – is not fun duty.
"Coach Frazier told us one day to tackle him off and give him a little stud. I looked at him and said, ‘Coach, you can't stud A.D. You'll get ran over trying to stud him. You better ask a linebacker to stud him,'" Sanford said. "Once he gets to us, it's kind of (rough) in the secondary."
Cook, who had two minor knee surgeries during his rookie season in 2010, said it's always hard for athletes to trust surgically repaired body parts shortly after they return from the injury.
Jared Allen, who hasn't had to deal with a major injury during his NFL career, said any premature end to a season is frustrating for players. He called Peterson's focus to return for the start of the 2012 season "phenomenal."
"Anytime a season doesn't end the way you want it to end, whether it's an injury, whether it's a loss, whatever it is, if it's a down year, that's more motivation to prepare," Allen said. "That's how you know Adrian is a true competitor. He has that drive, he has that will to be the best. Obviously his season ended before he wanted it to last year and his work shows for itself.
"The guy is jacked. It's awesome."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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